Is this your time to consider a new business idea?

By Michael Lake | March 30, 2021 |

On Labor day 1995, an Iranian-American named Pierre Omidyar tried auctioning off some stuff on his personal website that he no longer wanted. He wasn’t sure if he could drum up any business through this relatively new phenomenon called the World Wide Web, but it seemed worth trying. Among the items he posted was a…

The exhilaration of not falling to my death

By Michael Lake | March 27, 2021 |

Our fear and exhilaration one afternoon during last week’s spring break provided an important moment for both my son and for me-and perhaps for something worth your consideration. My 17-year old and I traveled to the northern Arizona mountains last week in anticipation of a well-deserved change of scenery and mindset. One of the activities…

A reaction I hadn’t expected to my recent audiobook

By Michael Lake | March 21, 2021 |

After announcing the audiobook version of the softcover book Richie Beirach and I recently published called A Framework for Jazz Mastery, I received a terrific response from a customer. Before I share with you what he wrote, let me share one objective for the books I’ve published over this past year with Richie, Dave Liebman,…

Fun with drone tracks

By Michael Lake | March 19, 2021 |

I enjoy crafting harmony tracks with which to practice. They are not usually jazz, but instead are more ethereal. Here’s one I like because the harmony slowly becomes more complex and ear-stretching. Things to do with them: Sing some scales and melodies over it in order to get your ear in tune With your instrument…

Three things you should stop doing right now if you want to become an accomplished jazz player

By Michael Lake | March 17, 2021 |

The metronome is okay for young kids trying to practice beginner shit like five-finger little piano pieces or first attempts at trying to play scales, but for a jazz player, it’s very counterproductive. Practicing time with a metronome gives the jazz player a false sense of time. Jazz time is much more flexible than strict…

Is the alto trombone a transposing instrument?

By Michael Lake | March 16, 2021 |

I am often asked this question and I’m not sure I’ve ever given a satisfactory answer, at least one that satisfies aspiring alto trombone players. So let me take another whack at it. The fundamental of the alto is Eb but it is considered a concert instrument. Remember that the tenor trombone is a concert…

Why can you only play music that’s written on the page?

By Michael Lake | March 15, 2021 |

This question was asked of me recently by a musician whom I believe is a classical player. It’s a great question, one that I get a lot, and probably on the minds of hundreds of thousands of musicians-jazz or otherwise. Here’s a sample of comments I’ve received just over the past couple of weeks that…

Audiobook excerpt from A Framework for Jazz Mastery

By Michael Lake | March 11, 2021 |

Last year, Richie Beirach and I published the book, A Framework for Jazz Mastery. I knew once we released it, I would want to create an audiobook version of it. It took some time, but I’ve finished the narration are we are almost ready to submit it to the audiobook platforms. Richie and I wrote…

My new project with Richie Beirach

By Michael Lake | March 3, 2021 |

Since my interview with Richie Beirach for the Jazz Master Summit more than a year ago, we’ve collaborated on a great many writing projects for books and articles. The loss to the poor students at the Mendlesohn School of Jazz in Leipzig is my gain. Richie’s retirement from the Mendlesohn School mandated by German law…

Salsa with Caribbean Express

By Michael Lake | February 28, 2021 |

I recorded an interview last week with the great trombonist Conrad Herwig. If you don’t play trombone, and don’t know Conrad, he is one of the very few trombone players who has played with Miles, Joe Henderson, McCoy Tyner, Richie Beirack, Dave Liebman, the Brecker Brothers, Jack deJohnette, and a long list of other true…